08.01.13

SJC Sends D.C. Circuit Nominee to Full Senate

. . . Committee Also Approves Leahy-Authored Reauthorization Of Bulletproof Vest Program, Begins Debate Of Media Shield Legislation

WASHINGTON (Thursday, August 1, 2013) – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Patricia Millett to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, who if confirmed would fill one of three vacancies on the court.

“The D.C. Circuit decides some of the most important cases in our nation, with significant impact on the lives of all Americans.  This court must be allowed to operate at full strength, and to that end, I applaud the Judiciary Committee’s approval of Patricia Millett’s nomination today,” said Leahy, who also discussed the importance of the D.C. Circuit in a floor statement in June. 

Millett has served in the Office of the Solicitor General under both President Clinton and President Bush.  She has argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court, and another 36 before Federal courts of appeal.  Her nomination has drawn the support of previous solicitors general in Republican and Democratic administrations, the National Association of Attorneys General and the National Fraternal Order of Police.  Millett appeared before the Judiciary Committee on July 10 for a confirmation hearing

The Committee also voted to approve legislation Leahy-authored to reauthorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a federal grant program that helps state and local law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests for officers working in the field.  Since 1999, the program has issued more than one million lifesaving vests to state and local law enforcement officers throughout the country. 

“I am gratified that the Judiciary Committee has approved legislation to help protect the brave officers working every day on the front lines in our communities to keep us safe,” Leahy said.  “This life-saving program has provided over one million vests to offices throughout the country, including thousands of vests in Vermont.  With today’s showing of bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee, I hope the Senate will move quickly to approve this legislation.”

The Committee also continued consideration of the Free Flow of Information Act, a bipartisan bill to protect journalists and their confidential sources.  A substitute amendment authored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was adopted, and further consideration of the bill will continue in September.  The substitute amendment adopted today includes privacy language authored by Chairman Leahy to safeguard the privacy protections contained in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) for members of the press.  Leahy was chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 2007 and 2009, when the Committee favorably reported similar media shield legislation.

“I hope that the third time is a charm, and that this is the year that the Senate moves forward with enacting media shield legislation into law,” Leahy said.

Results and a webcast of Thursday’s executive business meeting can be found online

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